No doubt about it, the refreshed 2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate is a full-size, full-bore luxury sedan with more than 50 special comfort, convenience and safety features.
But, as I cruised around the urban and rural roads of southern South Carolina, I couldn’t help thinking there was one more important feature that I could have really enjoyed.
Sure, this thrifty rich man’s answer to the Mercedes S Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Lexus LS 460 and Jaguar XJ is easy to drive. Even in the selectable sport mode it’s certainly no sports sedan, but a driver can’t help but be impressed by Equus’ smooth and powerful engine, its easy controllability, its supreme isolation from the world outside, and its supple suspension. It would be an excellent companion for the grinding haul between, say, Manhattan and south Florida.
But it might serve an owner as well or better in a different role. I’m picturing the busy executive who wants to conduct business or relax in limousine-like splendor on the daily commute while the driver battles the unrelenting rush-hour traffic.
So let’s examine the rear quarters of the ultimate Equus..
First the outboard seats: Lots of room to stretch out, sumptuous soft leather, power recliners and lumbar adjustment, . Straight ahead, mounted to the rear of the front seats, are two 9.2-inch, high-definition monitors for the DVD entertainment system.
The center console is the command post for the tri-zone climate control system, the killer sound system, the movie screens, navigation and more. Mr. (or Ms) Executive and a companion will be traveling first class whatever the destination.
New for 2014, that console can be raised into the seatback to make room for a fifth passenger when required.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the total package.
The Hyundai Equus comes in two flavors only. Signature carries a sticker price of $61,9200, including delivery charge. The upgraded features that turn it into the Ultimate run the suggested bill up to $68,920, also including delivery charge. Taxes are additional.
That’s not exactly chump change, but the price pales in comparison to the rolling status symbols from Germany, England and Japan that command prices $20,000 to $40,000 more.
A close examination will reveal several areas where Hyundai lags behind the competition dynamically and aesthetically, but to the cost-conscious buyer the differences are minimal. Hyundai has plenty to offer on its own and is steadily working to elevate the Equus into a fully competitive thoroughbred.
The exterior upgrades for 2014 include new front and rear bumpers, a new grille, new 19-inch wheels and LED fog lights. Overall, from my viewpoint, the Equus comes across as conservatively handsome.
Inside, the 2014 Equus is more comprehensively upgraded, including an all-new dashboard, steering wheel and center stack. There is more wood veneer and even the shift lever is surrounded by leather.